NEW YORK (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put Toronto ahead in the first inning with his 11th home run in the Bronx and Brandon Belt drove in four runs to lead the Blue Jays over the New York Yankees 6-1 Friday night.
Yusei Kikuchi (3-0) allowed one run and four hits in six innings and has a 1.91 ERA over five starts and one relief appearance at Yankee Stadium. Erik Swanson, Trevor Richards and Yimi García finished a five-hitter.
“Just being able to attack the hitters and just keeping that mentality I think has been big for me,” Kikuchi said through a translator.
Wearing powder blue uniforms, Toronto went ahead against Domingo Germán (1-2) when George Springer doubled on the game’s first pitch and two batters later Guerrero hit a drive into the visitors bullpen in left-center for his fourth home run this season. Guerrero is batting .296 (37 for 125) in 32 games at Yankee Stadium.
“Since you are a little kid, you dream of playing at Yankee Stadium,” the 24-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero said through a translator before the game. “Yankee Stadium is always a stadium you want to go to, you want to perform, you want to hit. That’s the mentality all the time when I come here.”
Belt hit a two-run homer in the sixth and a two-run double against Albert Abreu in the eighth, a ball off the arm of a lunging Aaron Judge in right. Belt had gone 38 games without a home run since July 17 for San Francisco off Milwaukee’s Jason Alexander.
“If I’m not going out of the zone a lot, swinging more at my pitches then I feel like I’m becoming more myself and I think I’ve been doing that lately,” Belt said.
Oswaldo Cabrera hit his first home run of the season, an opposite-field drive to right in the second. The Yankees didn’t get another runner past first base.
New York has lost five straight series openers after winning its first two. The Yankees entered the three-game weekend series with five series wins and one split.
Germán gave up four runs, five hits and two walks in six innings, retiring 12 in a row at one point and striking out six. In his previous outing, umpires found he had excessive sticky substance on his pitching hand but allowed him to clean his hand and remain in the game.
Tensions between the division rivals boiled over with two outs in the ninth inning when Guerrero was hit on the left elbow by Greg Weissert’s 93 mph sinker.
“I was trying to make a pitch and I kind of turned around and didn’t really see what he was doing,” Weissert said. “So I’m kind of standing there and I don’t really know what he was thinking, but I wasn’t obviously trying to hit him.”
Guerrero appeared to argue briefly with both Weissert and first baseman Anthony Rizzo as he slowly strolled to take his base.
“Obviously not trying to hit Vlad there. You obviously want to make sure he’s all right,” Rizzo said. “He seemed to be and just kept staring at Greg and kept staring at him, and just took exception to that.”
Weissert maintained he did not say anything to Guerrero and did not hear the slugger say anything to him.
“Just walk to first base. That’s really it. It wasn’t much more than that,” Rizzo said.
Although both managers began to walk onto the field, the benches and bullpens did not empty.
“I don’t think today was anything. I think it’s a hitter getting hit and it hurting,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “I make really nothing of it and think there’s mutual respect from both ends.”
“Much ado about nothing,” Boone said.
Oswald Peraza started at third for the Yankees, his first professional game at the position.
Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (strained left forearm) had a CT scan of his back, which has bothered him during the past week. Scan results were “pretty normal” according to manager Aaron Boone. … RHP Jonathan Loáisiga (right elbow inflammation) threw on the field. … CF Harrison Bader (strained left oblique) began a rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Somerset, playing center field for five innings and going 1 for 3 with an RBI. Boone expects that Bader will need at least a week of minor league games. … RHP Luis Severino (strained right lat muscle) is headed to Tampa and will throw a bullpen session there on Sunday, with another likely scheduled for next week. … C Ben Rortvedt (left shoulder aneurysm surgery) started a rehab assignment as Class A Tampa’s designated hitter and was 0 for 3 with a walk.
Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah (1-1, 6.98 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four starts at Yankee Stadium going into his outing Saturday against RHP Gerrit Cole (4-0, 0.95 ERA), coming off a shutout of Minnesota.
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Scott Orgera, The Associated Press